Take a Hawaiian holiday on Maui’s romantic Wailea Beach.
- Written byDarren Elms
While Oahu draws the traditional resort crowd and Kauai attracts nature lovers in search of pristine beaches and incredible hikes, Maui often falls somewhere in between. It’s that “little bit of everything” that makes Maui so desirable to visitors.
Here you get the stylish pampering of first-class resorts but also picturesque vistas worthy of your next holiday greeting card. No area of Maui is more inviting than Wailea Beach on the southwest shore. On the rise over the last couple decades, Wailea is the quieter, upscale alternative to bustling Ka’anapali Beach. A short 30- to 40-minute drive south of Kahului Airport, it’s also super-convenient.
In all, the beautiful stretch of beach is home to a handful of excellent resorts and hotels, top restaurants, golf and a view of the Molokini crater. Once you arrive in Wailea, there’s really no reason to leave.
Where to Stay:
Our favorite new hotel is not on the beach but perched on a hill overlooking the shoreline. Formerly a Japanese private-member club, Hotel Wailea recently debuted as a stylish experience for those in search of something other than the big-resort vibe. In fact, the hotel hopes to attract a couples-oriented crowd with its sleek redesign, hip pool scene and adult-friendly amenities.
At Hotel Wailea every room is a one-bedroom suite, complete with a generous living space, kitchenette and nicely appointed bathroom with both tub and walk-in shower. Balconies either overlook the lush gardens or the majestic Pacific.
Thoughtfully designed, private and spacious, it’s an ideal setup for one-on-one, quality time. (555 Kaukahi Street, 808-874-0500, hotelwailea.com)
Where to Eat:
The Hotel Wailea is also home to one of Wailea’s most esteemed restaurants, Capische?—headed by chefs Brian Etheredge and Christopher Kulis. The culinary destination offers Mediterranean-inspired dishes with several ingredients either sourced from the hotel gardens or locally on Maui.
The pastas, a highlight of the meal, are prepared with the chef’s special touch and served seasonally either as an appetizer or entrée. Filets also come prepared in two styles based on preference, and the fresh catch should not be missed.
Should you venture off-campus, we suggest you head to The Fairmont Kea Lani just down the road. With breathtaking beach access and glistening, white architecture that suggests an enchanted Shangri-La, you won’t be disappointed by the visit.
Top of our dining list is Kō, the award-winning signature restaurant offering plantation-inspired cuisine featuring Hawaiian, Chinese, Filipino, Portuguese, Korean and Japanese menu items. Open for lunch and dinner, Kō serves up a delectable dining experience with incredible service to boot. (4100 Wailea Alanui Drive, 808-875-4100, fairmont.com/kea-lani-maui)
Bar Guru at Hotel Wailea
For Kerry, tending bar in Maui is more than pouring mai tais; it’s a sensory experience. With a blend of fresh Maui produce, local spirits, rejuvenating tonics and made-from-scratch sodas and syrups, this seasoned pro makes mixology magic with heart and soul. Oh, and she has kombucha on tap … this gal knows how to please the health-conscious South Bay crowd. Tell her we sent ya.
What to Do:
What’s not to do in Maui? Snorkeling on Molokini, kayaking, kiteboarding, stand-up paddleboarding or horseback riding along the coast, browsing at The Shops at Wailea, golfing on the Wailea Gold Course at the Wailea Golf Club … the possible itineraries are endless.
If you seek the serene haven of the spa, we suggest you check in to the Fairmont’s Willow Stream Spa for a day of big exhales. Recently named Hawaii’s top spa by Travel + Leisure, the new, 9,000-square-foot venue offers a full menu of authentic spa experiences to relieve, restore or provide results in a nurturing environment.
Features include experience showers inspired by varieties of Maui rain, a soothing Pālolo (mud) bar, an invigorating hot lava stone foot bed, steam and sauna, as well as a nail and makeup bar. Sign up for the signature Natural Hawaiian Journey salt scrub and massage and leave replenished and radiant for that night’s luau. (willowstreamspamaui.com)